It’s estimated that years of warfare in the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed over four million people, with another 12 hundred dying every day due to continued violence, disease and malnutrition. More than one and a half million people are displaced.
In order to help rebuild the country, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization is calling for 50 million dollars in emergency funding. The money would be used for emergency-related agricultural projects.
Alex Nyarko is the FAO’s deputy emergency coordinator in the DRC. From the eastern city of Goma, he spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the state of agriculture in the country. “After more than 10 years of war, agriculture is abandoned. There are no means for farmers to take over agriculture activities; I mean they’ve lost their goods…agricultural tools and everything. And even the vegetable material has deteriorated. So, we are trying to assist them to restart agriculture.“
If the FAO receives the $50 million in emergency funding, Nyarko says it would be used for a number of projects. “We have different sort of activities. We are in an emergency, which is dealing with vegetable production, seed multiplication.” The projects would also aid cassava production.
He says, “We also have rehabilitation programs dealing with feeder roads reconstruction, mass land valuization…rice farming. We are also trying…to assist nutritional centers, where we have kids suffering from malnutrition.”
In the eastern DRC, where there’s been a great deal of insecurity, there are problems with militias destroying or stealing crops. But he says UN military escorts are available and many areas are safe to cultivate. However, the sheer size of the DRC means it will take a long-term effort to rebuild the country’s agricultural sector.